According to a recent survey on predictions about social media use for small businesses, one of the biggest prediction states that small businesses will get more selective about their use of social media and the sites they have a presence on. So what about the top social media networks, Facebook and Twitter? If you have limited time and resources and can only devote your time to one site, which is best for your biz? The battle between Twitter and Facebook to gain the maximum wallet share of marketers will continue, but the choice for marketers still remains difficult. Which platform to choose? Though both platforms are hot for social media marketing these days, can we really justify which one is better? We really can’t comment and say that one of them is better than the other but what we can really do is – identify the advantages and disadvantages of both the platforms, the choices available at each platform, the opportunities each platform presents, under what circumstances and why we should prefer to use one platform over the other and so on.
Facebook allows for some useful targeting, with a variety of expressed and implied interests available as options for targeting its users, and it has worked hard to improve its ad platform since its IPO last year.
Still, although 85% of marketers polled at the beginning of 2013 by AdAge said they use Facebook as a marketing tactic, among them just 61.5% said they have used it for advertising. Facebook’s Sponsored Stories ad product gets rave reviews from some, yet less than 30% have given it a shot.
Twitter, on the other hand, offers a variety of “Promoted” products—Tweets, Accounts, and Trends—and worked hard at improving its self-serve platform in the year prior to its broad rollout in April 2013. Yet, again, results are mixed, and it seems Twitter still has a ways to go as an advertising platform.
Let’s look at some of the statistics and figures available to us regarding Facebook and Twitter.
|Total number of monthly active Facebook users
|Total number of mobile Facebook users
|Increase in Facebook users from 2012 to 2013
|Total number of minutes spent on Facebook each month
|Percent of all Facebook users who log on in any given day
|Average time spent on Facebook per visit
|Total number of Facebook pages
|Percent of 18-34 year olds who check Facebook when they wake up
|Percent of 18-34 year olds who check Facebook before they get out of bed
|Average number of friends per facebook user
|Average number of pages, groups, and events a user is connected to
|Average number of photos uploaded per day
|Number of fake Facebook profiles
|Global Facebook Reach Statistics
|Number of languages available on the Facebook site
|Percent of Facebook users who are outside the United States
|Number of users who helped translate Facebook
|Facebook Platform Statistics
|Average number of aps installed on Facebook each day
|Total number of apps and websites integrated with Facebook
|Every 20 Minutes on Facebook
|Facebook Company Statistics
|Total number of Facebook employees
|Total 2012 Facebook revenue
|Total 2013 Facebook revenue
|Twitter Company Statistics
|Total number of active registered Twitter users
|Number of new Twitter users signing up everyday
|Number of unique Twitter site visitors every month
|Average number of tweets per day
|Number of Twitter search engine queries every day
|Percent of Twitter users who use their phone to tweet
|Percent of tweets that come from third party applicants
|Number of people that are employed by Twitter
|Number of active Twitter users every month
|Percent of Twitters who don’t tweet but watch other people tweet
|Number of days it takes for 1 billion tweets
|Number of tweets that happen every second
|Twitter Annual Advertising Revenue
SIZE AND REACH
Yes, Facebook has more than double the active users of Twitter, but their algorithm determines which content you see in your news feed, and how often in a given period of time. This can make it more challenging for your audience to see your content, especially with the algorithm changes they’ve been making recently, which impacts business content even more, unless you pay to promote your posts.
Twitter, however, is composed of one consistently streaming news feed of content/tweets, no restrictions applied. As people who follow your business Twitter account follow more people and businesses, their stream also becomes noisier. It can be easy for your content to get lost in the mix.
On the upside, the search function within Twitter is more robust and is utilized more often than Facebook. If you’re tweeting information people care about, the likelihood that it will be found is much greater via Twitter.
BUSINESS VS PERSONAL
Another key difference between the two largest networks centers around business and personal accounts. Unlike Twitter that lets all the accounts commingle, Facebook makes a definite distinction between business and personal. This can be an issue because your business page cannot proactively connect with individuals with personal profiles. Individuals have to first like your page and you still can’t reach out to them directly unless they message you first. This is not the case with Twitter, as you can follow pretty much anyone as long as they haven’t blocked you or have a protected account.
One of the key disadvantages of Twitter is the speed at which the information flows. Depending on how many people you follow, a tweet can literally stay in your feed for mere seconds (though it can also be turned into a huge advantage in terms of negative publicity) but that is how Twitter works. And there isn’t any way for the ‘good’ tweets to rise to the top, unless you pay to promote a tweet.
With Facebook, if your content is really good and a lot of people interact with it via likes, comments and shares, it’s possible for your post to have a longer news feed shelf life. And if your community shares it, there’s a higher probability that it’ll be seen by people you aren’t connected with. This is true, however, with retweets on Twitter.
Actual ad performance is a tough metric to track, especially since the metrics the two networks release to the public differ. For example, we know the average CPC on Facebook is $0.50, but Twitter doesn’t release that data.
AdWeek tells us that engagement rates (which includes favourites, re-tweets, replies, clicks, etc.) for Twitter ads can be as high as 1-3%, which is much higher than Facebook’s average CTR of 0.119%. In this respect, Twitter has already mastered the issue that Facebook has been trying to correct with its in-stream Sponsored Stories ads; Promoted Tweets are, by nature, in-stream. Advertisers will notice a significantly higher CPM on Twitter, at $3.50, compared with just $0.59 on Facebook.
We can make an apples-to-apples comparison on revenue per visitor, which clearly goes to Facebook with $0.93 compared with $0.44 on Twitter. Of note, though, is that Twitter’s RPV (Revenue Per Visit) has grown exponentially year over year (YOY), with a 300% gain, while Facebook’s RPV growth is much smaller at just 39%.
We also found that Facebook has lost ground in share of social referred visits, with a 20% decrease YOY, bringing it to 62%. However, that still beats out Twitter’s paltry 6.8% share of social visits, though it’s increased 258% this year.
Twitter touts its Promoted Trends product, reporting a 22% lift in brand conversion and 32% lift in retweets. They’re pricey, though, and this is not a product for SMBs; at up to $200,000 a day or more, Promoted Trends are a big brand advertising tool.
Facebook Ads, on the other hand, are still hit and miss with performance largely affected by vertical. The average CPC for alcohol brands, for example, is 45% higher than the average across verticals (PDF), while gaming brands enjoy a 40% lower CPC.
Overall, AdAge ranks Google the most important advertising platform in terms of ROI, followed by Facebook and then Twitter.
MOBILE AD PERFORMANCE
Twitter has an inherent mobile advantage, because Promoted Tweets are in-stream and therefore look and feel natural for mobile users. Facebook Ads in the right rail don’t even exist on mobile apps, which is a huge missed opportunity for advertisers.
Whereas Facebook has just one native ad format in its app (the App Promotion Ad), Twitter ads show up both on desktop and mobile. In this regard, we see a distinct advantage for Twitter. So it must own the mobile ad space, right? Not even close. In 2013, Facebook had 15.8% of Mobile Ad market share (41% of Facebook revenues), while Twitter had only 1.83% of the total Mobile Ad market share which accounted for 50% of its revenues.
Facebook has had to work hard at simplifying its ad offerings for marketers, and it announced big changes in June 2013, when it promised to cut the number of ad formats by more than half by the end of the year.
Facebook’s ad formats now include the following:
- App ads
- Domain ads
- Mobile app ads
- Offer ads
- Page-like ads
- Page post link ads
- Page post photo ads
- Page post text ads
- Page post video ads
- Sponsored stories
Ad formats on Twitter have always been simpler; it offers just three products: Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts, and Promoted Trends.
CONCLUSION: NO BIG WINNERS HERE
When considering tracking, analytics, and measurement, marketers are thirsty for more across both platforms. Brands still struggle with multitouch attribution and with placing an accurate dollar value on each social interaction, whether organic or ad-induced.
In summary, we can’t in good conscience recommend either Twitter or Facebook advertising as a good direct response (lead generation) marketing tactic. The intent just isn’t there compared with search.
Facebook and Twitter are great for brand awareness, content marketing, and other soft sales tactics. Use them to build relationships, educate consumers, and engage fans—if you have budget for these types of activities. Both have a lot of work to do to prove their value to advertisers.
Advertisers should go into social advertising on Facebook and Twitter with clear goals, an open mind, and a willingness to pull the cord if it’s just not working out.
Twitter is for Real time communication, enhancing customer services etc, BUT CLEARLY not about Recent TRENDS. Though the execution part of customer service has to be offline but a company can enhance the experience of it through social media. And not only customer service, so many other thing about the company.
Facebook on the other hand offers the advantage of authentic connections and profiling. The amount of information Facebook provides about users is really valuable. No other platform can provide such kind of user information other than Facebook. BUT that does not mean Facebook is for MASS Markets. NO it is not. If you want to go for Mass Markets, don’t go for Facebook just because it has more than a billion users. Instead use some other media for Mass Marketing.